By Brooke Maffia Wang
On what would have been her 72nd birthday, we had my mom’s celebration of life service. A one of a kind spectacle with all the different groups of people who seasoned her life. I planned, with detail, the service to include the simplicity she requested— adding a party favor of dental floss for each guest to take with them. She loved a good party, and dental floss about just as much, and something free even more. A dental hygienist by trade, who saw her patients more like friends. People I’ve never met feel like they know me because she would chat them up while her hands were in their mouth cleaning their teeth.
As I sat in the front row in the long narrow church filled to standing room only, what I was not prepared for, was the palpable wave of sound and energy that washed over me as we sang the traditional and familiar words of the old hymns, It Is Well and Amazing Grace. It felt like being swept up and enfolded in a big hug as all the voices joined in on cue. My eyes filled and it was well with my soul and an amazing grace to be there with this unique group of humans.
Music has a mystical way of resonating with us. A way of expressing what is going on in our soul that words fall short to capture. Jake Wesley Rodgers sings a song called Weddings and Funerals. It has become one of my companions in my life that has been full of spectacles lately. Less than a month after my moms service, I attended my brothers second wedding. A spectacle that also used music to express a different range of human emotion. (My mom and his first wife frequented the cancer center together for about two years previously.)
Wesley’s song gorgeously captures the spectacle (his word) we make of both of these life events and others like them— and rightly so. It’s how we mark time. They are undoubtedly important.
However, what resonates with me in this song (Dare I even call it a prayer?) is what we contemplatives would call being in the present moment. His suggestion that love is made/experienced/lived out in the “everyday miracles” invites me to pay attention. To be fully in each moment. To linger with a “long loving look” at what is right in front of me. It calls me to savor that moment of pure delight in the laughter of my kids down the hall, or when I take in the intoxicating smell of the redwoods on a hot day. It asks me to slow down long enough to feel my feels, embrace the gratitude that I could easily rush past, and to name it as holy.
I’m wondering, for you, today:
* What are the spectacles that have marked time in your life lately?
* What are some everyday miracles you’ve noticed this week? What might they be inviting you into?
* How will you linger a bit longer in gratitude and presence today?
May you be fully present to all the holy moments and everyday miracles that fall between the spectacles of your life.